It was telling that on the one-year anniversary of Barack Obama’s inauguration the spotlight was not on the president but on a previously little-known Republican state senator who had just won a special election for a Senate seat in the bluest of blue states.
For Obama, gone was the euphoria, the sky-high approval ratings and the aura of invincibility that surrounded his first days in office.
Indeed, after the Democrats’ losses in New Jersey and Virginia and the steepest decline in approval rating of any president after his first year in office, Brown’s triumph was the perfect exclamation mark to Obama’s dreadful first year in office.
Democrats insist that, like Ronald Reagan, who struggled in the polls during his first year in office, Obama can recover and be a successful and popular president. But to borrow from Lloyd Bentsen, I knew Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan.
Unlike Reagan, Obama’s troubles are the fruit of an out-of-touch agenda defined by legislative overreach at home and the projection of weakness abroad. That agenda includes significant set backs on issues important to pro-family conservatives as well as ordinary Americans.
Some in the homosexual rights community have complained that Obama has not done enough on their behalf. But while they may not yet have secured Obama’s public support for gay marriage, he did much to advance their cause in his inaugural year.
He called for an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which would allow open homosexuality in the military. He named as ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa an open homosexual, and he extended health and other benefits to the domestic partners of federal employees.
Most significantly, in late October the president signed a hate crimes law that makes it a federal crime to assault an individual because of his or her sexual orientation or “gender identity.” Hate crimes laws violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution by creating “second class” victims. Suddenly a grandmother murdered for her Social Security check is less important as a victim than someone killed for their sexual orientation. Our laws should prosecute the crimes themselves, murder, rape, theft, rather than the motives of the criminal.
The hate crimes law should also worry all pastors and conservative politicians because Democratic House members refused to approve an amendment to the bill that specified that the new law would not encompass “hate speech,” including speech critical of homosexuality.
If, as the old Washington saying goes, personnel is policy, then there is much for those who care about the family to be concerned about in Obama’s policies.
Kevin Jennings, Obama’s “Safe School Czar,” is a long-time advocate of promoting homosexuality in schools and once failed to report an incident of statutory rape. David Ogden, whom Obama appointed to be Deputy Attorney General, was a prominent attorney for the pornography industry.
Dawn Johnsen, the president’s choice to direct the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department, once compared pregnancy to slavery and is a former legal director for the pro-abortion group NARAL and the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project.
John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, once supported coercive population control measures including forced abortion and adding sterilants to drinking water.
Then there’s Chai Feldblum, the supporter of polygamy whom Obama selected as commissioner of the Equal Employment Commission, and Cass Sunstein, Obama’s Regulatory Czar, who has proposed abolishing traditional marriage as a state-sponsored institution.
In his 2008 book Nudge, Sunstein wrote that marriage discriminates against single people, bringing them “serious” disadvantages. But he may want to read the Democratic health care reform bill now on life support in Congress. Under the Democrats’ plan, some married couples would pay thousands of dollars more for the same health insurance coverage as unmarried people living together.
The Obamacare marriage penalty, contained in both the Senate and House bills, is the result of health insurance subsidies that Democrats linked to federal poverty guidelines. Subsidies are limited for married couples that buy subsidized insurance through new exchanges set up by the legislation.
So, according to the Wall Street Journal, under the Senate bill an unmarried couple with a combined income of $50,000 would pay $3,450 in annual premiums, while a married couple with the same combined income would pay $5,100 — nearly 50 percent more.
Barack Obama and his supporters made a fatal mistake during the transition period between his election and inauguration. They began to believe their own rhetoric and convinced themselves that the country had swung irrevocably to the Left.
And there is no evidence that the Democrat’s have awoken from that fantasy. Though the president conceded on Wednesday to having lost touch with the American people, the Democrats — from Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs to Nancy Pelosi — are indicating that it’s full steam ahead with their agenda, which may include amnesty and an official repeal of Don’t, Ask, Don’t Tell.
But the country has not suddenly veered left. In fact, by pushing an extreme agenda, Democrats are nudging the country further right. A Washington Post poll this week found that 58 percent of Americans favor a smaller government that provides fewer services, while 38 percent want a larger government with more services.
And a National Journal poll last week found that only 23 percent of respondents said they would definitely vote to re-elect Barack Obama based on his first-year performance, while 50 percent said they’d vote for “someone else.”
In view of all this, I was astonished to hear President Obama give himself a “solid B plus” grade on his first year in office. Then I realized he must have been applying the grade- inflated standard that pervades Ivy League universities like Obama’s Harvard. In the real world, this president is failing.